USA Travels

Random Interesting Facts of the USA

Interesting facts of the USAThe saying goes: “It is hard to humble if you know you’re the best.” Through all my travels to and working in the USA I felt this saying to be true of the country and its people. Not in a bad “we are better than you way”. More in a “we know we are going to be alright, no matter what happens to us way”. Something I have always admired about them. You get the feeling they are incredibly proud of their country and they stick together, no matter what.

I have always loved visiting the Land of the Free but there is a lot I don’t know about it. Here are some random interesting facts on the USA that might surprise you.

– The world’s tallest battle monument is found in Houston, Texas

– Hawaii is the only state that commercially grows coffee.

– The center of North America is in the town of Rugby, North Dakota. Continue reading

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Aspen, Colorado – One of the top skiing destinations

Trees on Highlands Mountain Aspen

Beautiful trees line the ski slopes in Aspen

Having had the opportunity to call Aspen home  for a few months, I fell in love with this buzzing town-city-ski-resort in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains, hugging the Roaring Fork River. It got its name from the abundance of aspen trees growing in the area.

When you’re used to Europe’s narrower ski slopes, skiing the wide, tree lined slopes in Aspen is quite a treat. The slopes are real skiing jewels offering a great and vast variety of ski slopes.  For the more experienced skier, all the mountains except Buttermilk, which is great for beginners, offer loads of challenges.  And then the town is glitzy too, small wonder it’s the holiday destination of many Hollywood celebrities.

There are four mountains to choose from. Continue reading

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Kentucky – The Horse Capital of the World

A-statue-of-Man-o-War-at-KHP.-One-of-the-best-race-horses-ever

A statue of Man-o-War at KHP. One of the best race horses ever

It is the month of the Durban July. People go to horse races for various reasons. Some go for the hats or the dresses. Others go for the parties and the atmosphere. Most, like me, go because they love horses.Whilst the Durban July is arguably South Africa’s premier horse racing event, transforming Durban during the first weekend of July into horse central in South Africa, true horse loving heaven is to be found further afield in the American state Kentucky.

Never in my life have I thought I’d see people that love horses more than I do, but in Kentucky I finally met my match. If people are willing to build bigger, more extravagant horse barns than their own homes, you know they like horses. Flying into Kentucky and seeing the stables and fields on the ground far below, I knew I was in good company.

Kentucky thrives on horseracing. It’s the heartbeat of the state and even real city dwellers who may not  know the first thing about horses will leave strangely fulfilled. I landed in Lexington, the home of Keeneland Racecourse—where the Blue Grass Stakes, one of America’s best known preparatory races for the Kentucky Derby is held annually. The Blue Grass Stakes is a R7,5 million race, compared to the Durban July which is a R2,5 million race. The Kentucky Derby is held at the famous Churchill Downs racecourse,  in Louisville and this race has a first prize of around R14,5 million. Continue reading

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Chicago is my kind of town

A romantic jetty in Lake Michigan

A romantic jetty in Lake Michigan

Published in Weekend Argus 7/ 8 April 2012

“Don’t look to the right until I tell you to.”

I can still hear my friend’s voice in my ears every time I think of Chicago. He picked me up at the airport and we were driving down Lake Shore drive. It was just after sunset and the sky was still a dusky blue-pink hue. I was looking towards Lake Michigan, since the city to my right side was “off-limits” for now.

“Okay.  Look.  Now!”

I still don’t know what I was expecting but I will never forget the sight that greeted my eyes. As I looked to my right we were right across the bridge over the Chicago river that flows into the city from Lake Michigan. It was as if I was looking straight into the heart of Chicago city.

Continue reading

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